Norman M. Naimark

Senior Fellow

Norman M. Naimark is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is also the Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of East European Studies and a senior fellow of Stanford's Freeman-Spogli Institute.

Naimark is an expert in modern East European and Russian history. His current research focuses on Soviet policies and actions in Europe after World War II and on genocide and ethnic cleansing in the twentieth century.

Naimark is the author of the critically acclaimed volumes The Russians in Germany: The History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945–1949 (Harvard, 1995), Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing In 20th Century Europe (Harvard, 2001), and Stalin's Genocides (Princeton, 2010). He is also the author of the volumes Terrorists and Social Democrats: The Russian Revolutionary Movement under Alexander III (Harvard, 1983) and The History of the "Proletariat": The Emergence of Marxism in the Kingdom of Poland, 1870–1887 (Columbia, 1979). In his recent book, Genocide: A World History (Oxford University Press, 2016), Naimark examines the main episodes in the history of genocide from the beginning of human history to the present.

Naimark has edited and coedited a dozen books and document collections on the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe, Soviet nationality problems, interpretations of Soviet history, Operation "Barbarossa," the Soviet occupation of Germany, the Soviet occupation of Austria, the wars in former Yugoslavia, the Armenian genocide, and Soviet Politburo protocols.

He is or has been a member of editorial boards of a number of major professional journals in this country and abroad, including the American Historical Review, the Journal of Contemporary History, the Journal of Cold War Studies, Jahrbuch Fuer Historische Kommunismusforschung, Kritika, the Journal of Modern European History, and East European Politics and Societies.

Naimark was former president and board member of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. He served for many years on the Visiting Committee of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard and was former chair of the Joint Committee on Eastern Europe of the American Council of Learned Societies and Social Science Research Council. He served on the academic advisory board of the Center for Contemporary History Studies in Potsdam, Germany, and presently serves on the academic board of the “Vertreibung” Museum in Berlin. He is recipient of the Officers Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany. Most recently, he was elected as a foreign corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

At Stanford, Naimark served two terms on the Academic Senate, as well as on its Steering Committee. Also, he was chair of the Department of History, director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies, and director of the International Relations and International Policy Studies Programs. In 1995, he was awarded the Richard W. Lyman Award (for outstanding faculty volunteer service). He twice was recipient of the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching (1991–92, 2002–3).

Naimark earned a BA (1966), MA (1968), and PhD (1972) in history from Stanford University. Before returning to Stanford in 1988, Naimark was a professor of history at Boston University and a fellow at the Russian Research Center at Harvard. He also held the visiting Kathryn Wasserman Davis Chair of Slavic Studies at Wellesley College.

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Recent Commentary

The 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The 30th Anniversary Of The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

featuring Peter M. Robinson, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Kotkin, David Holloway, Timothy Garton Ash, Norman M. Naimark, Niall Ferguson, Robert Service, Victor Davis Hanson, Michael McFaul, Amir Weinervia Hoover Daily Report
Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Peter Robinson as well as many scholars and historians review the history of the Berlin Wall.

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A Bridge over a Troubled Century

featuring Norman M. Naimarkvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Celebrating Hoover fellow Norman M. Naimark.

In the News

Stalin And The Fate Of Europe’ Review: As The Curtain Came Down

featuring Norman M. Naimarkvia The Wall Street Journal
Monday, October 7, 2019

Of the many events that took place in the final phase of World War II, the activities on the small Danish island of Bornholm are among the least remembered. On May 9, 1945, just as Germany was surrendering to the Allies, the Red Army occupied Bornholm.

Photographic portrait of the “Great and Generous Leader,” Joseph Stalin.
In the News

‘Some People Get Sacrificed, Others Obey’: Inside The Cult Of Stalin Roiling His Georgian Hometown

quoting Norman M. Naimarkvia The Daily Beast
Friday, March 29, 2019

Stalin died 66 years ago this month, but his personality cult still looms large in the Republic of Georgia.

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Where Is Poland Heading?

by Norman M. Naimarkvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 29, 2018

A new populist party aims to tighten its grip on institutions—and on Polish history itself.

“Genocides: A World History” featuring Norman Naimark
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“Genocides: A World History” Featuring Norman Naimark

interview with Norman M. Naimarkvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Are genocides a thing of the past? Senior Hoover Fellow Norman Naimark argues no.

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“Genocides: A World History” featuring Norman Naimark

interview with Norman M. Naimarkvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Are genocides a thing of the past? Senior Hoover Fellow Norman Naimark argues no.


The Magnitsky Act - Russian Lawyer In Trump Jr. Meeting Lobbied Against It; Why Does Putin Hate It So Much?

by Norman M. Naimarkvia Fox News
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sergei Magnitsky was a thirty-seven year old Russian lawyer and auditor who worked for Hermitage Capital Management, a firm founded in 1996 by Bill Browder, the grandson of the famous leader of the American Communist Party, Earl Browder (1891-1973). Hermitage made tens of millions of dollars in the rush to buy up and sell state assets in the chaotic economic circumstances of Boris Yeltsin’s Russia. 

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The Many Lives of Babi Yar

by Norman M. Naimarkvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 24, 2017

One of the blackest chapters of World War II: the German massacre of Kyiv’s Jews. The horror of Babi Yar, suppressed in the Soviet era, may be finding its proper place in European memory at last. 

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All Quiet on the Balkan Front?

by Norman M. Naimark, Aleksandar Matovskivia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 27, 2017

With Yugoslavia’s successor states simmering with conflict and discontent, problems of security, governance, and identity could boil over.